Mr Penguin and I were discussing global warming last night. Specifically, what should we do right now if we believed that all the worst case stuff was really true? Let’s posit a scenario. In 20 years time, the climate of Australia has changed irrecovably, so that our current drought is a good year. The sea level is starting to creep up, as the Antarctic ice sheet melts – we’re now getting increased storm surges, and the waterfront parts of Manly beach are looking a bit shaky. The average temperature has gone up enough so that Sydney city now has 10 or so days above 30 degrees each month of summer, and the west of Sydney is commensurately worse. The cyclone season now goes as far south as Coffs Harbour, and it’s looking as if it’s going to get worse every year.
I think at that point, we don’t yet get breakdown in society, just economic effects. But then, if it gets worse, you might not be able to fly places. You might want to stockpile food, in case of breakdowns in supply chains. Maybe keeping your money in financial instruments (like superannuation) isn’t that sensible. Maybe we should start buying gold? Maybe I should retrain as a doctor? Society always needs doctors. Maybe we should move to somewhere that’s less reliant than Sydney city on the smooth functioning of every part of society.
Mr Penguin suggested we should buy a holiday house in the Southern Highlands, as insurance. I’m inclined to the North Island of New Zealand, myself. Although it’s further away, so less use as a holiday house (and riskier, in terms of getting to it, in case aeroplane travel gets expensive or impossible), it’s a fertile country, not too hot, with excellent rainfall, and not too many people. I’m a citizen of New Zealand. Perhaps I should start by renewing my passport.